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Everything Everything - 'Photoshop Handsome'

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Fraser McAlpine | 12:53 UK time, Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Everything Everything

Look, let's not mess about. The choice is very clear. Do we want pop music to be thrilling and odd and devious and brainy and joyful and brilliant, or do we want it to be familiar and acceptable and formulaic and stupid and ignorable and...just...THERE as a kind of aural emulsion? Cos I think we all want the former, and if that's the case, there's a few things we need to get sorted.

First, when astonishing pop songs come along, we need to make sure they are treated as the precious things they really are, shown a lot of love, bought, taken to the top table of the charts, and handed the keys to the executive bathroom.

Secondly, putting up with things which only work on paper is no longer acceptable. To have a passionate relationship with something means you sometimes have to be let down. Why not admit it? Some songs offer to take you somewhere amazing, and then leave you on the pavement in the rain, throbbing with irk and wanting to hurt it like it has hurt you.

I don't mean physically, of course, tripping up a pop star just because their third single isn't quite as good as their second is a little mad. But it's just as mad to pretend that a song is good just because it's a hit record. That implies that other songs, songs which are not hits, are not as good.

We can't allow that idea to prosper, or Everything Everything, a troupe who really should be a global household name by now, might decide that they're not as wonderful as they clearly are, and give up in the face of continuing public support for *insert name of least favourite pop act here*.

(Here's the video. It's surreally good.)

'Photoshop Handsome' is a song which has been released before. It did not make the band's fortune, but it did help turn a few heads, and rightly so. It manages the twin trick of being about something - excessive retouching of pictures so that people don't really look like people anymore - while being so choc-full of vim and fizz that you can't really say what is going on. Not without several listens and a chemistry set. I'm not even really sure that it IS about photoshop. I mean it appears to be, but when someone is squeaking and bashing and thrashing away in such an alarming fashion in front of you, interpreting their meaning can be a little tricky.

And that goes double when the thing they're doing is this amazing, because suddenly I don't WANT to know what every cough and comma of the song are supposed to be about. I like my interpretation better in any case. They've taken the trouble to cram the song with so many brightly-coloured musical treats it has become the sonic equivalent of a full sweetie jar. A full sweetie jar at a jumble sale to raise money for victims of poor photoshopping. That's basically it.

Being adventurous sorts, the band haven't spent the last year just sticking out old singles and petulantly demanding respect in any case. They've been re-scoring their entire debut album for a string and wind ensemble and using their own music to make their fans cry with joy. That's the level of thought they put into things, and it's only matched by their ability to make these ideas fly.

So, come on, I'm not asking this for my sake, or the band's sake, but for the future of pop music as we know and love it. Let's make this song a hit, and maybe, just maybe, show *insert name of least favourite pop act here* that there is more to this music lark than turning up half-dressed and pouting suggestively in a photogenic fashion.

Not MUCH more, obv, but still...

Five stars Download: Out now

www.everything-everything.co.uk
BBC Music page

(Fraser McAlpine)

There Goes The Fear says: "Wow, this sounds nothing - nothing - like anything I've heard before."

The Sound Medium says: "An upbeat Modest Mousy tune with a pretty bizarre video."

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